If Bobby Frankel could write a perfect scenario for the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 23, it would involve a dry forecast and a one-two finish. Frankel sends out a pair of starters in the 1 1/16-mile turf event — Silent Name, whose 12th-place finish in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) was a result of the soft turf, says the trainer, and Proudinsky, whose back-to-back wins in his last two starts have earned him the jump to grade I company for the second time in his career.
Silent Name may have appeared to struggle over the soft going in the Oct. 27 Breeders’ Cup Mile, but the 5-year-old son of Sunday Silence turned in previous efforts — an eighth-place finish over the dirt in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. IT) and a seventh-place finish on a synthetic surface the Tropical Blend Handicap (gr. I) – that were equally uninspiring. His last victory came April 14 on the Polytrack at Keeneland, where he took the Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. II) by four lengths.
“I think he’s gonna run good,” said Frankel. “The other horse ran really well in his last start and seems fine coming off a layoff, so we’re taking a chance (with him).”
Frankel’s better route the winner's circle in the race for 3-year-olds and up may just be with that “other horse,” the German-bred Proudinsky under jockey Rafael Bejarano. With Bejarano moving his tack to California this winter to ride first call for Frankel and with 4-year-old Proudinsky coming off back-to-back wins in a stakes-caliber allowance race and the Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT), the pair seems to stand a chance. Thus far, Proudinsky’s only grade I start career start resulted in a fourth-place finish in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park last year.
Trainer Michael Machowsky will send out 4-year-old Zann, a son of Dynaformerwhose late stretch run in the Oct. 7 Oak Tree Mile (gr. IT) was just a nose short of getting him the victory. Trainer Wally Dollase also has a trainee coming off a second-place finish – Crested, a 4-year-old Fantastic Light gelding who has not raced since narrowly losing the Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hawthorne Sept. 29.
Also coming back after a layoff is the Vladimir Cerin-trained Willow O Wisp. The 5-year-old Misnomer gelding has not raced since his sixth-place effort in the June 30 American International Handicap (gr. IIT). In 2006 he won the Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT), and in 2005 he took the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) in record-setting time, but his 2007 campaign resulted in three third-place finishes in the Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT), the Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT), and the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) before his last race.
Palace Episode, Independent George, Lang Field, and Visa Parade complete the field.
$400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. I,), Hollywood Park, 9th race, approximate post 4:30 p.m. PST, 1 1/16-miles, 3-year-olds and up, turf
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Palace Episode, 114, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
2. Independent George, 115, Corey Nakatani
3. Lang Field, 114, Jon Kenton Court
4. Visa Parade, 114, Joel Rosario
5. Willow O Wisp, 116, Martin Garcia
6. Silent Name, 117, Brice Blanc
7. Zann, 115, Garrett Gomez
8. Proudinsky, 114, Rafael Bejarano
9. Crested, 114, Michael Baze